Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to commission the first phase of a million acre Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme that is financed by his government.
Water Cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa says the Israeli firm contracted to set up the 10,000 acre model farm has agreed to speed up the process to allow Mr Netanyahu to commission it on his visit later in the year.
“We have signed the necessary agreement to provide financing through an Israeli bank which provides enough finances to complete the project ahead of schedule and enable Israeli Prime Minister to launch it,” Mr Wamalwa said.
Green Arava won the contract to develop the 10,000 model farm that will open up the entire a million acres to private investors.
Mr Wamalwa said the government would focus on irrigation and let the private sector invest in the other utilities.
The model firm is funded by a Sh7.2 billion loan from the Israeli government which is providing an additional grant of Sh3.5 billion for training.
About 100 youths will get free training on irrigation engineering in Israel every year for six years, with the same training model being replicated in various Kenyan institutions of higher learning.
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday met with the first batch of 25 students who are already in Israel to start training on irrigation agriculture
Galana project has been a subject of controversy with National Assembly suspending the scheme in December on suspicion of corruption cases.
A fortnight ago, the House Committee on Agriculture visited the scheme but did not agree whether to give it a greenlight or stop it all together as differences in opinion between members was evident.
However, the statement from Mr Wamalwa’s office says MPs have thrown their weight behind the project after they reversed their decision on the Galana irrigation scheme following their tour of Israel.
National Assembly Committee on Livestock and Agriculture said the Israel firm contracted to cultivate the 10,000 acres of the model firm had proven it had capacity to deliver it.
Committee vice chairperson Kareke Mbiuki told journalists that they were satisfied with the capacity of Green Arava after touring their establishments in Israel.